Some interesting facts, courtesy of the East Valley Tribune.
“The federal government pumped a staggering amount of money into 5,804 Mesa businesses, nonprofits and other entities to hold on to 78,492 jobs as the economy began reeling during the first few months of the pandemic.”
“Over 3,800 churches, charter schools, restaurants, retailers, builders and even a golf course operator in Gilbert got low-interest, forgivable loans totaling between $384 million and $610 million from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program to stay afloat during the initial months of COVID-19’s economic meltdown.”
Thousands of businesses in the East Valley were kept afloat thanks to the PPP, and many thousands more jobs were retained because of the program. You reading this might be one of those owners or one of those employees.
Businesses as varied as medical and dental clinics, vets, pool construction, churches, Arby’s, Backyard Taco, Joe’s Farm Grill, Pita Jungle, Nando’s Mexican Cafe, San Tan Auto Partners, Henry Brown Auto Group, Earnhardt Volkswagen, Zinke Dairy, Child Crisis Arizona, and Pulmonary Associates, to name some of the thousands.
Imagine what the East Valley economy would have looked like without the aid from the PPP. Imagine the number of businesses closed, employees jobless, families evicted, social services squeezed to the breaking point.
Apparently, though, one powerful person couldn’t imagine it. The man who represents those businesses and employees in the United States House of Representatives.
Rep. Andy Biggs.
Because, you see, Biggs voted against the PPP. In fact, he has voted against all of the relief bills. For the initial one, Biggs was only one of two Representatives to vote against it. And for the PPP program discussed here, Biggs was only one of four Republicans to vote No.
He has a variety of rationales for his votes, the most ironic one being that these bills add a tremendous burden to the debt.
Ironic because just two years earlier, Biggs enthusiastically voted for the Trump tax cuts, the bill that will add $1.6 trillion to the national debt. And will phase out tax cuts for individuals in just a few years, while maintaining the corporate tax cuts permanently. And which provide 81% of its benefits to America’s wealthiest, which includes Biggs, who earned his millions by winning a Family Publisher’s Sweepstakes.
The questions you have to ask are these: would Biggs have voted as he did if he knew his vote would decide if those relief packages would pass? Or did he vote that way in the cynical knowledge that they would pass anyway, but he could grandstand in voting No. And no. And no.
Biggs has the luxury of being the principled hypocrite he is because of the safe Republican district he represents.
But he has an opponent, Joan Greene, who is no flame-throwing leftie. If voters in Biggs’ district look at the havoc his votes would have caused in their lives, voting for Greene is an easy choice.
So, East Valley folks, ask yourself: do you run a business or work for one saved by the PPP? Did that additional $600 a week in unemployment aid keep you going? Did the $1200 per person check you received make the difference between paying your bills and defaulting on them, or worse, losing you house?
If your answers are “Yes,” don’t bother thanking your Congressman. Because if he had his way, none of that would have happened.